Publication Date

Summer 2013

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Sean Laraway


alcohol, CANTAB, executive functioning, polydrug use, simultaneous polydrug use, working memory

Subject Areas

Cognitive psychology; Psychology


Alcohol use is one of the most prevalent forms of drug use among college students. Because of the near ubiquity of college drinking, additional research is needed to determine whether such alcohol use is related to any cognitive impairment. Furthermore, many of those who use alcohol consume one or more additional drugs simultaneously, and little research has assessed whether such simultaneous polydrug use (SPU) has a further effect on cognitive functioning. This study was developed to bridge these two gaps in the literature and aid in the development of the SJSU SPUQ - Online.

Through the use of computerized tasks assessing working memory and executive functioning, the cognitive impact of recent alcohol use and frequent SPU were assessed in a sample of college students. Additionally, recent datasets utilizing the original paper version of the SJSU SPUQ and the current SJSU SPUQ - Online were compared. Results indicated that those who used alcohol within the last week spent less time planning the executive functioning task than those who did not. Data from both versions suggest that SPU is very frequent on this college campus and typically involves combinations of the drugs participants use individually. Additionally, the results of this study indicated some ways that the SJSU SPUQ - Online could be further developed and improved, such as expanding the item selection.